Let me hear ya say YEAH
Silence is not always golden; sometimes it is the key to confusion. This morning I was at the park; there was a woman walking behind me with her dog, she was training. The odd thing about this team in training was it was eerily quiet. If I was a dog my ears would have been turned back behind me as I attempted to hear even the slightest of sounds, nothing. This got me to thinking; just yesterday I was making some of the most ridiculous sounds you will hear. I was shooting a young dog and trying to get his attention. I'm not shy about getting the shot or in training; getting my message across.
As I loaded the girls into the xterra; the woman came by us again. I watch intently with my listening fine tuned to this team; still nothing. Okay; I don't know this woman, perhaps she couldn't talk but I doubt it. I felt like yelling to her "I'm blogging about you tomorrow." Even if you have no voice; there are still ways to communicate feedback.
Feedback, feedback, feedback; I cannot say enough about FEEDBACK.
Feedback: evaluative information derived from such a reaction or response.
If your dog does something that you like; how do they know that you like it? You have to tell them; and you can tell them in many ways. The easiest form of feedback is sound; that is if you are dealing with a hearing dog. Sound; and the best sound has a positive association, reward. In training or simple educating; marking a behavior is all about timing. If you strictly use food and remain silent it is very difficult to mark the correct behavior. You may accidentally mark the wrong behavior and then end up with a behavior that you have to try to eliminate.
Most of my training clients have had a good laugh or two on my account. Oh; they are laughing at me, not with me and I am full aware of this. "Throw a party;" yes, let your dog know how happy you are that they just peed on the grass and not the carpet. "My neighbors will think I'm nuts;" is what I typically get in response. Perhaps; but who cares, their time will come to do something embarrassing right? Along with marking behaviors with a "yes" or "good dog;" some dogs need inspiration along the way. Sometimes cheering them on in the form of whooooooop whooooop can put a spring in the step of a sluggish or non inspired dog. You know; "put your hands up in the air," type of whoooooop whooooop. I know you are laughing now too. ;)
Okay; now that I've got you raise'n the roof, some dogs are very sound sensitive and you may need to tone it down. Mellow feedback works just as well; in fact it works better on those whirlwind types. If you throw a high strung sound sensitive dog a whoooop whooooooop; they may just spin out of control. So; like I always say, each dog is different so what works for one may not work for the next. Know your dog; know what works and what makes matters worse. But whatever you do; don't expect your dog to read your mind, speak up.